SI Vault
September 30, 1968
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September 30, 1968


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What all this narrowing down of variables does is focus more and more attention on the athlete's muscles—which seem to get more fragile as playing conditions improve—and his neuroses. It gives him less to talk about unselfconsciously. It gives him less and less to blame on God. It makes him, like the rest of us, less of what we like to think of as a natural man.


One more little thing went wrong with the Olympics last week. The communications satellite that was supposed to carry the Olympic telecast around the world blew up.

Or rather it had to be blown up when it went off course after launching.

But the show will go on, anyway. Arrangements have been made to hook up the Olympics with a NASA satellite.


HORSES OF THE WORLD UNITE! That, in effect, is the slogan of a new movement that would give every racehorse a living wage. Owners and trainers say that racing is the only professional sport or entertainment in which the performer often gets nothing for his services. To repair this unfair labor practice, the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association is proposing that each horse that starts be given "appearance money." For instance, an owner might receive 1% of the total amount of money wagered on his horse, a system used at some tracks in Argentina.

Frank Mackle, the president of the HBPA, says it is essential to help horse owners meet their expenses. He points out that the average cost of keeping a Thoroughbred in training is $7,000 a year, yet 50% of the horses that race earn less than $1,800 a year.

One problem, of course, is where to get the 1%. Horsemen suggest that it come out of the state's share of the pari-mutuel handle, but state governments will not part with a cent, never mind a percent, of their profits. The horses may just have to wait until the state withers away. Then there should be oats for one and all.


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